The first series of paintings I ever created was of Memphis landmark signs. And I’m really glad I did because I was contacted by an editor from The History Press to publish a book with them regarding the matter. My good friend, Caitlin Horton, will be author of all content (be comforted it is not I), however I do have the privilege of researching, documenting and collecting stories of these landmarks alongside her. That is something of which brings me great joy. I feel honored that I can be a part of something for a city I’ve grown to love and a city I’ve seen grow in the time I’ve been here. I hold this as a way I can impart gratitude and perhaps contribute to the city’s growing luster. The project is currently called Memphis Type History.

For many months I will be putting much of my blogging effort towards this project which you can find at memphistypehistory.wordpress.com
Though, I will still remain to post whatever interest me whenever the moment arises as there are plentiful items and matter of which capture my interest.

In the meantime, you may also find images of Memphis signs at memphistype.com and speculate which photographs and landmarks will be featured in the book.
Thanks in advance to those who share their interest and stories in this.

The first series of paintings I ever created was of Memphis landmark signs. And I’m really glad I did because I was contacted by an editor from The History Press to publish a book with them regarding the matter. My good friend, Caitlin Horton, will be author of all content (be comforted it is not I), however I do have the privilege of researching, documenting and collecting stories of these landmarks alongside her. That is something of which brings me great joy. I feel honored that I can be a part of something for a city I’ve grown to love and a city I’ve seen grow in the time I’ve been here. I hold this as a way I can impart gratitude and perhaps contribute to the city’s growing luster. The project is currently called Memphis Type History.

For many months I will be putting much of my blogging effort towards this project which you can find at memphistypehistory.wordpress.com

Though, I will still remain to post whatever interest me whenever the moment arises as there are plentiful items and matter of which capture my interest.

In the meantime, you may also find images of Memphis signs at memphistype.com and speculate which photographs and landmarks will be featured in the book.

Thanks in advance to those who share their interest and stories in this.

5 Things My Daughter Will Learn Differently Than In My Own Experience…

1. Learning how to type on a typewriter.

2. Scoring a bowling game by hand.

3. Backing up files on a zip disk.

4. Renting a video from a video store.

5. She probably won’t have to learn Square Dancing.

Zoltar make me young again.

Artificial Wigwams

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Perhaps you’ve once encountered a Wigwam Village motel such as this one on a road trip in the U.S.A. But before I continue with this blog post, I would care to state there is in fact a difference between a wigwam and a tipi. A wigwam is a dome shaped dwelling structured typically by curved wooden poles, and a variation of materials such as grass, brush, bark, rushes, mats, reeds, hides or cloth. A tipi on the other hand is a conical tent constructed with wooden poles and animal skins though, most modernly used, canvas. Tipis were built with quick portability in mind in the case a tribe needed to skedaddle whereas wigwams were built to last like a Ford F-150.

While we can rightly assume these motel rooms were mistakenly referred to as wigwams, being their shape was obviously constructed in resemblance of a tipi, I would like to defend the motel creator, Frank A. Redford, by saying he perhaps did perceive his project as a long-term village. In addition, the materials used to construct these rooms were neither hide, cloth, bark or animal skins etc. so technically he could call these contraptions whatever he wanted.

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The painting and photo you see above is the motel dubbed Wigwam Village #2. Built in 1937, Wigwam Village #2 stood in Cave City, Kentucky, as the second Wigwam Motel in the country. Two years later, the first village motel in near proximity came to a close. Originally, a total of seven motel villages dwelled upon the country, but today only three have survived. You many find village #6 in Holbrook, Arizona and Village #7 in Rialto/San Bernardino, California. As someone who has lived a night in one of these rooms, I would like to send my personal opinion of the endearing village. The rooms are fantastic. Don’t expect a king or even a queen size bed. Don’t expect a tub to lather in. Don’t expect room service or even a motel restaurant (the restaurant that once stood proudly no longer exists). However do expect to have your own little parking spot next to your room, and inside the room expect coziness, original restored wooden furniture, artwork to make you smile, and a small bathroom. For outside, there may not be a restaurant in walking distance but there is a nice little gift shop and remember this is Cave City, a very interesting tourist town of which holds many venues of great mirth.

If you’re into travel videos and would like to see of a few activities you might enjoy in Cave City, you may view my personal travel video here.

I have often heard people of older generations say they remember where they were when JFK was shot. They remember when and how they heard the news.
I often believe 9/11 created the same effect for people. I remember a friend telling me she was driving in her car and heard the morning show radio hosts announcing it as it happened. She thought it was some sort of sick joke.
I walked into a very quite community college finding people had all gathered in the student center area watching the television screens as the news broadcasted without interruption.
And where were you?
Perhaps it is because I possess a child now that I still get a bit emotional about this.
life.time.com/culture/world-trade-center-remembering-the-twin-towers

I have often heard people of older generations say they remember where they were when JFK was shot. They remember when and how they heard the news.

I often believe 9/11 created the same effect for people. I remember a friend telling me she was driving in her car and heard the morning show radio hosts announcing it as it happened. She thought it was some sort of sick joke.

I walked into a very quite community college finding people had all gathered in the student center area watching the television screens as the news broadcasted without interruption.

And where were you?

Perhaps it is because I possess a child now that I still get a bit emotional about this.

life.time.com/culture/world-trade-center-remembering-the-twin-towers

Tags: September 11

As a Guest

For this week, I produced a guest blog post for Front Porch Art. Read it here.

In the meantime, for your listening pleasure… Fly Me To The Moon

Scheherazade (say that 4 times really fast)

And so the story goes there lived a Persian king who woefully became aware of his wife’s infidelity and thus she became beheaded. With each wife the king took to himself there after, he had them delivered to a beheading just after one night of matrimony. He ordered “roughly” 1,000 women to be killed.

Then came Scheherazade who volunteered herself to spend one night with the king. And with a plan in mind, she presented a story that night in the king’s presence only to stop midway. The story was so compelling, naturally the king asked that she tell the end. However dawn was breaking and Scheherazade assured the king she would complete the story the next night. She did so the next night and followed the end of that story with another compelling story only to stop midway as dawn was breaking. After 1,001 nights of stories, the king fell in love with Scheherazade and took her as his wife sans a beheading.

I feel as though I relate to this king a bit. Yes, it’s true, I’ve never ordered or committed a beheading in my lifetime, however I do like a good story. Don’t we all? For nearly two years I have been at battle with sleep. I sometimes feel we may never reach peace. However, just last week, for a few nights, the man I sleep with began reading me stories. He read to me bits of the Chinese zodiac, and when I discovered I had fallen asleep I asked the next night if he would read me something else. He kindly did so for several nights and it was nice.

A story is not difficult to encounter. Every photograph, painting, sculpture, building, song and so on has at least one story behind it. Often when we discover or hear these stories, a sentiment of appreciation is generated or a sudden bit of inspiration is ignited within us. It was the story of Scheherazade, for example, of which inspired Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov to compose a beautiful symphonic suite.

I urge anyone to take some time to appreciate the art they may pass.

p.s. Thanks for the introduction, Mr. McCutchan, but more importantly thank you for the way you valued your work and for inspiring so many young musicians.

(Carnegie Hall, NYC 1999)

Artificial Paradise

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There arose a time when Hooters needed an upgrade, and the natural hotness of a tropical theme is where they took it. They took it to paradise. And with the help of an artificial palm tree, people may visit tropical paradises nearly anywhere in this country. Who doesn’t love palm trees? I may have not performed research on this, but it is rather difficult for me to believe there is not some unknowing release of endorphins when in the presence of palm trees. To be in the midst of LED lighted palm trees would deliver an additional enhancement of euphoria I imagine. 

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I am certain there was one of these lighted palm trees in our Memphis Hooters, however it appears somebody may have ended its existence in the building. So in turn, when you are looking for a night to escape to a tropical paradise I recommend visiting the local Scottish Inn & Suites on Elvis Presley Blvd. because there lives an artificial palm tree just outside the sparkling pool. Book a night, attire yourself in some kicky tropical swimwear and fill the martinis because one dip in this pool will certainly submerge you into paradise.  

To find the Scottish Inn & Suites painting along with my other postcard series paintings for sale, visit Front Porch Art.

To learn more about Hooters, type in “Hooters” on your web browser.

P.S. Once I possessed a baby palm tree of which deceased under my supervision and I cried. I wonder what that palm tree would look like now if proper nourishing had been imparted from me.

O these? Well these are just cigarette ad images I wanted to have done for kicks. Perhaps it was watching Madmen long enough that passed along the subdued feeling of “unsatisfied but oh so classy”. Can cigarettes make my life better? Probably not, but an ad can give me hope, a good feeling, or a good idea. These little “old” ads don’t actually inspire me to pick up a cigarette but they do inspire me to write a love note to the man who knows me best… even if he is someone I happen to live with. Thanks to Amanda Hill who captured the smugness I was hoping to acheive in these shots.

It was also Hill’s organization dubbed Memphis Bombshells of which called my attention to something great. She once posted on her business page, “Before there was Photoshop, there was Gil Elvgren.”

Gil Elvgren, of course! He was a classical American illustrator who captured the all-American ideal female in calendars and advertisments of his time. Even in the 1930’s, location and props were not always a necessity for a photo shoot, because Elvgren could just paint it in! So women needn’t visit the newest playground to advance awkwardly down a slide for the perfect photograph, it was staged in a studio just as it would be today. The only difference, of course, is an advertising agency won’t necessarily need to hire an illustrator. They just need a good photographer and photo editor.

I applaud Memphis Bombshells for bringing an old artform back with a modern personal touch. Amanda is a skilled photographer/editor and her team offers great advice on garments and direction, with a hair and make-up specialist on hand to help you acheive the era and style you are looking for. To learn more about the company, visit memphisbombshells.com.

But now I just can’t shrug off the notion that Mr. Elvgren did possess such a wonderful profession. So if there are any out there who would like to revert back and retain a new old style painting of a pin-up dame, perchance of yourself, please give me a shout. Perhaps it is a new series I will begin in my near future at some point. Hey, you could be a zoo keeper feeding a panda! Everybody likes pandas…

To validate that I am in fact a painter (mostly realist) you may see much of my past workings at rlwphillips.com.

The story behind me and Tom Collins.

Let me begin this story by saying my husband and I lived in Hazard, Kentucky 2.5 years soon after our union in matrimony. In Hazard, there is black gold, a nice festival, very lovely mountains, and AppleBees. Truth be told, it is likely we sat upon a chair in AppleBees every Friday night.

However, ONE weekend there was a bride-to-be of whom my friend was hosting a bachelorette party for, at her home. I do not know who the bachelorette was.. I’m not sure I remember ever speaking to her, but I attended this house party anyhow and an older woman asks me if I know what I want to drink. Naturally I say, “No, I do not.” She says she was a former bartender back in her day and her signature drink was the Tom Collins. It was the first Tom Collins I ever consumed and I am not ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fast forward this story… We had just moved to Memphis, though for the first couple of months I was in Texas aiding as a live-in nanny for a friend. I am at a bar and a gentleman who claims he is a swing dance instructor (but won’t demonstrate his swing dance moves to the public) asks me what I want to drink and, naturally, Tom Collins arose first to mind. It may have been the last cocktail I honestly had..  But to my surprise, the gentleman says, “A Tom Collins?! How old ARE you?”

I never got my Tom Collins.

Thus the question kept arising, “Will somebody get me a Tom Collins?”

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The best part is, not even a year later, I watched “ChinaTown” and Faye Dunaway asked for one right on screen. I was sold. I kept mentioning it, secretly hoping someone would order me one by surprise.

But it wasn’t until just a few months ago my father-in-law brought the goods to our home to concoction this beverage. My first Tom Collins since 2007, but that doesn’t mean I won’t accept another.

Moral of the story? (Why do I suddenly have a moral of the story section?) I say proclaim who you are, what you like, and what you do. Don’t let shame be your oppressor, your unhealthy relationship. I really appreciate the oddities in people and hope to discover more in them.

"A real hero doesn’t expect to be thanked or even recognized." – Tom Collins

p.s. thanks amy harrison

Tags: Tom Collins

Holiday’s Great Sign

The first image you see on the left is a painting I created of the Holiday Motel, currently stationed in Las Vegas. When I took this painting in for its frame, the framer said he recognized the sign and asked if I knew where it came from. Naturally I said, “No, no I do not.” To which he claimed the sign was once the belonging of a Holiday Inn, but masked, like many others, to fit a new motel.

When compared, I have no hesitation in stating the Holiday Motel sign is not the offspring of an old Holiday Inn. However, the framer’s comment did urge me to further look into the history of the “Great Sign”.

The first Holiday Inn opened in August 1952, residing on what was once the main highway to Nashville, Summer Avenue in Memphis. It unfortunately encountered its execution in the early 1990s. What you see in the top image to the right is the roadside sign used by Holiday Inn during their original era of expansion in the 1950’s-1970’s, also commonly referred to as the “Great Sign”. From what I gather, the attractive lights lured people to it on the highway like flies and by the abundant popularity of the sign, many clones were constructed, some of which remain to this day. I believe the Holiday Motel is an example of such. Several intact fragments of the famous sign have been restored and relit, mostly the Holiday Inn top section of the sign, and the marquee box, but overall the signs were demolished, recycled and no longer exist on our highways.

Though if there is any existing recycled sign that is used today, I’d say it’s this Star Lite Motel in Mount Airy, NC. Or perhaps it is just a very decent clone. Trip Advisor ranks them at #7 of 7 places to stay in Mount Airy so I can not make any recommendations or suggestions upon taking a nightly rest here.
To read a fun old post with a bit of additional history, click this
You can find the Holiday Motel sign painting for sale soon at Front Porch Art among others.
Or come to the Orpheum Memphis Art Sale this Sunday, August 11th and see it for yourself!